The laminated layer: Recent advances and insights into Echinococcus biology and evolution.

Álvaro Díaz, Cecilia Fernández, Álvaro Pittini, Paula I Seoane, Judith E Allen, Cecilia Casaravilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The laminated layer is the unique mucin-based extracellular matrix that protects Echinococcus larvae, and thus to an important extent, shapes host-parasite relationships in the larval echinococcoses. In 2011, we published twin reviews summarizing what was known about this structure. Since then, important advances have been made. Complete genomes and some RNAseq data are now available for E. multilocularis and E. granulosus, leading to the inference that the E. multilocularis LL is probably formed by a single type of mucin backbone, while a second apomucin subfamily additionally contributes to the E. granulosus LL. Previously suspected differences between E. granulosus and E. multilocularis in mucin glycan size have been confirmed and pinned down to the virtual absence of Galβ1-3 chains in E. multilocularis. The LL carbohydrates from both species have been found to interact selectively with the Kupffer cell receptor expressed in rodent liver macrophages, highlighting the ancestral adaptations to rodents as intermediate hosts and to the liver as infection site. Finally, LL particles have been shown to possess carbohydrate-independent mechanisms profoundly conditioning non-liver-specific dendritic cells and macrophages. These advances are discussed in an integrated way, and in the context of the newly determined phylogeny of Echinococcus and its taenid relatives.
Original languageEnglish
JournalExperimental parasitology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • Carbohydrate
  • Echinococcus
  • Laminated layer
  • Lectin
  • Liver
  • Mucin


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